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October 16, 2016 Weekly Geology Guess, Jurassic Park

October 16, 2016
Greetings from the Bluff Park Back Porch, way up yonder on Shades Mountain (1,109′) in Alabama:

My discussion on Alabama Geology will continue with the Geologic Time Scale or the Geologic Column and the critters that abide within each pigeon holes.

As with most sciences, especially natural sciences, we love to pigeon hole our data.  Most of the pigeon holes have scientific merit and accuracy.  With the Geologic Time Scale we start with the oldest layers and work upward to the youngest layers.

For some of you this will be new, novel, and maybe heretical.

Expedition Earth: Geological time scale
 
Mesozoic  Era

“The Mesozoic Era (pronunciation: /ˌmɛsəˈzɪk, ˌm, s/ or /ˌmɛzəˈzɪk, ˌm, s/[1][2]) is an interval of geological time from about 252 to 66 million years ago. It is also called the Age of Reptiles or the Age of Conifers.[3]

The era began in the wake of the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the largest well-documented mass extinction in Earth’s history, and ended with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, another mass extinction which is known for having killed off non-avian dinosaurs, as well as other plant and animal species. The Mesozoic was a time of significant tectonic, climate and evolutionary activity.”  Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesozoic

 

Jurassic Period (Age of Reptiles)

“The Jurassic (pronunciation: /ˈræsɪk/; from Jura Mountains) is a geologic period and system that spans 56.3 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya.”

“The Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses, Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. This created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, and many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests. On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds also appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs. Other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, and the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life. The oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, while pterosaurs were the dominant flying vertebrates.”
The write up in Wikipedia includes a lot of interesting details.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic

Paleogeography

Adapted from: C.R. Scotese, The University of Texas at Arlington
for a more Detailed Review of Jurassic Paleography seehttps://www.britannica.com/science/Jurassic-Period

Alabama Jurassic Period Paleontology and geology

“There are no surface rocks of Jurassic age in Alabama. Analysis of drill cores indicates that fluctuating sea levels caused intermittent flooding of the rift valleys formed earlier in the Triassic. At times, rates of evaporation exceeded rates of water inflow to these areas and the sea dried up, leaving behind beds of pure salt. Eventually the sea persisted, creating the young Gulf of Mexico. As the Gulf widened and deepened through the Jurassic, rich deposits of hydrocarbons—formed primarily from decaying single-celled organisms—accumulated in the sediments. These hydrocarbons became the valuable petroleum and natural gas deposits now found across the modern Gulf States and Mexico.”

http://paleoportal.org/index.php?globalnav=time_space&sectionnav=state&state_id=14&period_id=9

>    http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/prehistoric-world/jurassic/

LIFE:  Needless to say, it was a very dynamic time for Reptilian Marine and Terrestrial Life = “Age of the Dinosaurs”  All of the attached articles have detailed discussions of Life during the Jurassic.

>    All of the dinosaur images that one could possibly want:https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEV78ZRAFYTAoAj0kPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=Jurassic+Period&fr=yhs-befrugal-002&hspart=befrugal&hsimp=yhs-002#id=120&iurl=http%3A%2F%2F2.bp.blogspot.com%2F-UCX3B-uwHoo%2FUAxnU-p3j0I%2FAAAAAAAADU0%2FtpIPUjVOT3w%2Fs1600%2Fzoorassic1.1.JPG&action=close

Attached Critters:

1.    Ammonite.  “Ammonoids are an extinct group of marine mollusc animals in the subclass Ammonoidea of the class Cephalopoda. These molluscs are more closely related to living coleoids (i.e., octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish) than they are to shelled nautiloids such as the living Nautilus species. The earliest ammonites appear during the Devonian, and the last species died out during the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonoidea

2.    Archaeopteryx lived in the Late Jurassic around 150 million years ago, in what is now southern Germany during a time when Europe was an archipelago of islands in a shallow warm tropical sea, much closer to the equator than it is now. Similar in size to a Eurasian magpie, with the largest individuals possibly attaining the size of a raven,[3] the largest species of Archaeopteryx could grow to about 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in) in length. Despite their small size, broad wings, and inferred ability to fly or glide, Archaeopteryx had more in common with other small Mesozoic dinosaurs than with modern birds. In particular, they shared the following features with the dromaeosaurids and troodontids: jaws with sharp teeth, three fingers with claws, a long bony tail, hyperextensible second toes (“killing claw”), feathers (which also suggest warm-bloodedness), and various features of the skeleton.[4][5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx

3.    “Cycads /ˈskædz/ are seed plants with a long fossil history that were formerly more abundant and more diverse than they are today. They typically have a stout and woody (ligneous) trunk with a crown of large, hard and stiff, evergreen leaves. They usually have pinnate leaves. The individual plants are either all male or all female (dioecious). Cycads vary in size from having trunks only a few centimeters to several meters tall. They typically grow very slowly and live very long, with some specimens known to be as much as 1,000 years old. Because of their superficial resemblance, they are sometimes mistaken for palms or ferns, but are only distantly related to either.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycad

4.    “Diplodocus (/dɪˈplɒdəkəs/,[1][2] /dˈplɒdəkəs/,[2] or /ˌdɪplˈdkəs/[1]) is an extinct genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs whose fossils were first discovered in 1877 by S. W. Williston.  This genus of dinosaurs lived in what is now western North America at the end of the Jurassic period. Diplodocus is one of the more common dinosaur fossils found in the middle to upper Morrison Formation, between about 154 and 152 million years ago, during the late Kimmeridgian age.[4] The Morrison Formation records an environment and time dominated by gigantic sauropod dinosaurs, such as Apatosaurus, Barosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Camarasaurus.[5]  ”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplodocus

5 and 6.    “Ichthyosaurs (Greek for “fish lizard” – ιχθυς or ichthys meaning “fish” and σαυρος or sauros meaning “lizard”) were large marine reptiles

Ichthyosaur species varied from one to over sixteen metres in length. Ichthyosaurs resembled both modern fish and dolphins. Their limbs had been fully transformed into flippers, which sometimes contained a very large number of digits and phalanges. At least some species possessed a dorsal fin. Their heads were pointed, the jaws often equipped with conical teeth to catch smaller prey. Some species had larger bladed teeth to attack large animals. The eyes were very large, probably for deep diving. The neck was short and later species had a rather stiff trunk. These also had a more vertical tail fin, used for a powerful propulsive stroke. The vertebral column, made of simplified disc-like vertebrae, continued into the lower lobe of the tail fin. Ichthyosaurs were air-breathing, bore live young, and were probably warm-blooded.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthyosaur

7.    “Pterodactylus (/ˌtɛrəˈdæktləs/ TERR-ə-DAK-til-əs, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning “winged finger”) is a genus of pterosaurs, whose members are popularly known as pterodactyls ( /ˌtɛrəˈdæktlz/). It is currently thought to contain only a single species, Pterodactylus antiquus, the first pterosaur species to be named and identified as a flying reptile. It was a carnivore and probably preyed upon fish and other small animals. Like all pterosaurs, Pterodactylus had wings formed by a skin and muscle membrane stretching from its elongated fourth finger to its hind limbs. It was supported internally by collagen fibres and externally by keratinous ridges.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterodactylus

8.    “Stegosaurus (/ˌstɛɡəˈsɔːrəs/[1]) is a genus of armored dinosaur. Their fossil bones have been found in rocks dated to the Late Jurassic period (Kimmeridgian to early Tithonian ages), between 155 and 150 million years ago, in the western United States and Portugal. Several species have been classified in the upper Morrison Formation of the western U.S, though only three are universally recognized; S. stenops, S. ungulatus and S. sulcatus. The remains of over 80 individual animals of this genus have been found.[2] Stegosaurus would have lived alongside dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Allosaurus, and Ceratosaurus; the latter two may have been predators of it.

These were a large, heavily built, herbivorous quadrupeds with rounded backs, short fore limbs, long hind limbs, and tails held high in the air. Due to their distinctive combination of broad, upright plates and tail tipped with spikes, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable kinds of dinosaur. The function of this array of plates and spikes has been the subject of much speculation among scientists. Today, it is generally agreed that their spikes were most likely used for defense against predators, while their plates may have been used primarily for display, and secondarily for thermoregulatory functions. Stegosaurus had a relatively low brain-to-body mass ratio. It had a short neck and a small head, meaning it most likely ate low-lying bushes and shrubs. One species, Stegosaurus ungulatus, is the largest known of all the stegosaurians (bigger than related dinosaurs such as Kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stegosaurus

9.    Torvosaurus (/ˌtɔːrvˈsɔːrəs/) is a genus of carnivorous megalosaurid theropod dinosaurs that lived approximately 153 to 148 million years ago during the later part of the Jurassic Period in what is now Colorado and Portugal. It contains two currently recognized species, Torvosaurus tanneri and Torvosaurus gurneyi.

In 1979 the type species Torvosaurus tanneri was named: it was a large, heavily built, bipedal carnivore, that could grow to a length of about 10 m (33 ft). T. tanneri was among the largest carnivores of its time, together with Epanterias and Saurophaganax (which could be both synonyms of Allosaurus). Specimens referred to Torvosaurus gurneyi were initially claimed to be up to eleven metres long, but later shown to be smaller.[1] Based on bone morphology Torvosaurus is thought to have had short but very powerful arms.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torvosaurus

>    As some of you will notice, as we go up the geologic column the more complex and numerous life becomes.

>    As with most of my weekly fores into geology, with each topic I could write many papers and dissertations.

Note:  I have intentionally reduced the amount of linked graphics in this email due to the amount of space required and trying to untangle everything the following week has been a mess.

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References include:

–    Wikipedia

–    “Lost Worlds of Alabama”, Second Edition, 2013, by Jim Lacefield

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Editors Note:  It is the intent of this site to keep this discussion as simple as possible, so as to educate the interested general public and not to discuss with the geology crowd the latest geologic theories and nuances.  Thanks, R

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“No copyright infringement intended.
The rights belong to their respective owners”
____________________________________________________________________
Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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Author’s Request:  If you see any pictures that you know the source and photographer, let me know immediately.  Thanks!  R

Images have been searched by TinEye Reverse Image Search.  http://tineye.com/

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Next time we will venture into the Cretaceous Period.

 

 
Enjoy the adventure!
 

Thanks,

R

jurassic-ammonite-perisphinctes-ancientpoint-com

jurassic-ammonite-perisphinctes-ancientpoint-com

Archaeopteryx, cast of  fossil bird, 145 Million years old, Late Jurassic Period, Germany

Archaeopteryx, cast of fossil bird, 145 Million years old, Late Jurassic Period, Germany, AGPix_0253

jurassic-cycad-flower-plants-imgarcade-comjpg

jurassic-cycad-flower-plants-imgarcade-comjpg

jurassic-diplodocus-tongus-a-long-necked-dinosaur-of-the-late-jurassic-period-150-milli-captaincynic-com

jurassic-diplodocus-tongus-a-long-necked-dinosaur-of-the-late-jurassic-period-150-milli-captaincynic-com

jurassic-ichthyosaur-early-jurassic-england-fossilsandotherlivingthings-blogspot-com

jurassic-ichthyosaur-early-jurassic-england-fossilsandotherlivingthings-blogspot-com

jurassic-ichthyosaur-paleofacts-com

jurassic-ichthyosaur-paleofacts-com

jurassic-pterodactylus-flying-reptile-allposters-co-uk

jurassic-pterodactylus-flying-reptile-allposters-co-uk

jurassic-stegosaurrus-armoured-dinosaur-dinosaurs-fossil-skeleton-jurassic-plates-spikes-blogevolved-blogspot-co-uk

jurassic-stegosaurrus-armoured-dinosaur-dinosaurs-fossil-skeleton-jurassic-plates-spikes-blogevolved-blogspot-co-uk

jurassic-torvosaurus-meat-eater-redorbit-com

jurassic-torvosaurus-meat-eater-redorbit-com

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